Tuesday, 21 July 2009

my UFO epiphany

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences with the sleeping patterns of your babies, it makes me feel better that it's not just Anna that seems to be possessed by the devil as soon as it comes to nap time. I truly don't understand it: newborns sleep lots, teenagers probably too much, adults want to sleep more so why do small children hate to sleep so much? Anyway after a week on her new routine she's having three long (1.5 hours) naps a day which is an absolute joy because I can finally eat, shower and even take photos for my blog now! She is still waking up several times at night though, and her new party trick is that only I can settle her, and if her dad goes in to calm her down she becomes hysterical. He claims to be upset about that, but secretly I think he's happy to get out of night time duty..... But I think if I can get her daytime napping under control in a week, eventually night time sleeping should be sorted out too eventually (maybe another 18 years???).

Well I've still been cleaning out my sewing studio, hence no photos to share yet. During the cleaning frenzy I decided to procrastinate in a useful way by photographing all my UFOs (unfinished objects for you lucky ones not to have any) and put them all in one box so I could go to them easily to finish them off in a timely manner (yeah right!). However when I needed a second large box to fit them all in I realised that I have way too many, which represents way too much time and money wasted. I read the very funny joke about finishing things off over at Jean's blog, and then saw this very wise buddhist quote over at lsaspacey's blog (she's looking for the source of the quote too, so head over there if you can help her):

"A Buddhist friend told me that if you're feeling stressed, get rid of the stuff you don't need and finish the things you've started."

So what is my UFO ephiphany? I finally realised that not every project is worth finishing and that I should clear those out so I can focus on what is worth doing, you know stop sweating the small stuff and just get on with life. So out went a whole bag of UFOs (some to the rag bag in the garage, others to my scrap fabric bag) of clothes that I know I will never wear or wear so little even if I finished them nicely that I don't need them.

That said though, I still have many to finish off so I did what any good anal retentive type does: make a list! I photographed each UFO, listed what pattern was used and what is left to do, printed it out and stuck it above my sewing machines so it's there taunting me. And I'm very happy to say that I have already finished one of the UFOs, one that I cut out the fabric and lining at least five years ago but never sewed up at all.

The story behind this top is that it is part of a three piece suit, made from a black wool. The pants I made and wore a few times but they didn't fit too well and I have no idea where they are now; the jacket I stuffed up and it needs unpicking and is also a resident in the UFO pile. So without the rest of the set I never bothered making the top. But it's a very simple sleeveless shell top, with princess seams that does up at the back, which would wear well with anything so I finally decided to finish it even without it's matching garmets. In warmer months or under a jacket I would wear this on its own, but it's pretty chilly around these parts at the moment so I've worn it vest style instead with my new stay at home mum uniform of jeans and flat shoes:


Remember when I was pregnant and obsessing about what shoes I would wear since I was addicted to my heels? Well now I pretty much always wear flats because I have no occasion to wear heels anymore, I mean I would look pretty silly rocking up to my mothers group in high heels!

I used a now OOP Michael Kors for Vogue 1826 pattern. I've made this top before in a lovely white waffle weave cotton that I wear frequently under suits, so I knew this would fit well and look good. It's simply two layers sewn together and turned inside out, with a zipper down the centre back although I put in buttons instead. It seems I have monkey arms because I have no problems doing them up at all! Please ignore the tag of my t-shirt sticking up there at the back of my neck.


Because it is plain black, I decided to jazz it up by adding some embellishment to the front, especially since I don't often wear jewellry. I have seen this done elsewhere on RTW clothing, so I can't take the credit for it. All I did was sew on some little rectangles of black and white striped fabric in a tiered arrangement on the front. Of course it looked better in my imagination than in reality, but hey for my current sleep challenged state it turned out good enough to leave it as it is, and actually wear in public. Because I just sewed the little 'flaps' straight on to the right side of the fabric, I sewed a strip of ribbon over the top to neaten it up a little:






So the good news is that one UFO is crossed off the list, the bad news is that I have another one of this top cut out and not sewed as well! So I may do that one next since this took only a few hours to finish off....
Happy sewing everyone, may you finish all of your projects and not be plagued by UFOs!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Finally, I have something to say

Fear not everyone, I didn't take to myself with my staple gun and put myself out of action for the last few weeks resulting in blog silence. It's just that nothing blogworthy has happened in the last few weeks, in fact I've been rather dispirited lately because Anna's sleeping patterns went from bad to worse: not only was she sleeping only 20 minutes at a time 3 or 4 times a day, she then stopped sleeping through the night as she had been and instead started waking every 45 minutes until we gave up and brought her into our bed, usually around 2am or so! So you can imagine how tired and frustrated I've been, and I had quite a few of those moments when you try to imagine your life if you never had children.....

But all is not lost because a few days ago I had an early childhood nurse come and spend the day with us to observe what is happening and to give assistance with sleep and settling routines. They don't advocate a controlled crying routine or a cry it out approach which is good because Anna didn't take to those methods at all. In fact she cried once for 2.5 hours straight even with me patting her stomach and singing to her until I gave in and picked her up when I tried the Tizzie Hall method which I found very harsh and upsetting. But on this more gentle approach, of only letting her cry for a minute before calming her it's so far so good, her naps this week have extended to 1.5 hours, falling to sleep quite quickly and re-settling quickly halfway through if she has woken. She is only waking twice at night time now, but they are getting shorter in length and she is sleeping for more hours before waking. So for any Sydney mums, I can thoroughly recommend the lovely ladies from The Infants Home in Ashfield if you're at the end of your tether like I was.

I guess I won't be dropping her off at the orphan's home just yet as I've been threatening to do (good thing babies don't fully understand what we're saying!). And apart from this hiccup she is doing great - rolling, sitting up, improving her dexterity and hand skills, eating solids and learning to squeal for fun, although that is not so great! And she is 6 months already, I can't believe how fast time has flown by. Here is a photo from just a few days ago:

Anyway this is a sewing blog, so enough about the baby and please imagine a big drum roll in your head: here is my new dress that I have been working on for at least a month or more now!


I used a vintage Butterick pattern, which is labelled an easy pattern. And it was an easy dress to sew, pre-baby it would have taken a few hours at most, but I think you all know how little time is left when there are children around. But I also made things harder for myself because the fabric I chose to use is very unstable, and would shift if I even looked at it, so it made it hard to keep the fabric straight when cutting and sewing it, made even more obvious by the check pattern of the fabric. I underlined the fabric with some black organza to make it more stable and more substantial since it is a lightweight woven cotton.











It has a bit of a school uniform look to it, although since my high school uniform was a bottle green straight skirt and lemon yellow blouse, and my primary school uniform was a pink check tunic with maroon ribbon, this would be a pretty good school uniform! Of course I could wear it with a more colourful polo neck top or scarf, or pair it with a red belt and shoes to brighten it up a little more. And taking a photo on a less gloomy day would help too I suppose. But nevermind, I'm just so pleased with myself for finally finishing it!

And to answer your question, Judy Ross, about the piping on the footstool in my previous post, I have to admit it was a bit of a shoddy job but you just can't really see it because of the thick fabric. Normally I would fold the raw end under and then sew the tubes one inside the other with the folded end on the outside, but because this fabric was so thick it would be too bulky, so I just overlapped the ends of the tube and sewed them down. To stop the raw end that is now exposed from fraying, I dabbed on some clear nail varnish! I suppose you could use some fray check spray if you wanted to do it properly, but I didn't have any and I find that clear nail varnish works wonders on lots of things other than your nails: stopping holes and ladders in pantyhose getting worse, replacing the plastic tips on shoelaces when they fall off, glueing down fabric where there are small holes or tears and finishing the ends of ribbon when cut. Anyway here is a close up of the join:

So I hope to be back shortly with something else to show off (other than the baby), hopefully I'm on a roll now!